a real soundtrack for an imaginary spy film

Episode Twenty-Two - HEATHROW UP - AND AWAY!

Copyright © 2002 - 2005 Arthur Jarvinen

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The Invisible Guy has been passing a carefree evening at Belgo Centraal, a popular restaurant in London's Covent Garden, gleefully availing himself of a few mussels whenever a mock-monkish, cowled server passes by with a platter full while negotiating his way through the human obstacle course to an overly-crowded table of patrons-almost-all-from-other-countries who for one reason or another weren't able to find the place called Lee Ho Fook, in Chinatown, and somehow ended up here instead.

Suddenly The Invisible Guy sees the writing on the wall – literally; the restaurant walls are covered in script. He hadn't noticed it before, but now he scrutinizes it, and doesn't take long to realize the lines are all quotations from the works of Rabelais.

"Damn me invisible arse to a bleedin' hell of my own design! – um, I mean, sacre bleu, I almost forgot, I'm expected to meet an important contact at the Best Western Hôtel Saint-Denis, in Paris – or is it Montpellier? – in just over…um, all right. This is going to be okay, I can make it if I catch the next flight out of Heathrow. But it's going to be tight."

And - with a couple of juicy morsels, for the road - he is outta there…

Claude, relaxing in the servers' break room and taking particular delight in the picture of Anita's beehive hairdo on page 62 of Black Monk Time, by Thomas Edward Shaw and Anita Klemke, finishes his gueze, still trying to decide whether he really likes fruit in his beer.

The airport is particularly crowded, and the only way into the concourse is through security. The Invisible Guy isn't carrying any metal, but it's not exactly convenient to sneak up to the front of the queue and slip through the detector between passengers. If he's to make his flight he really needs to get to the gate pronto, so he figures what the hell, he'll just ride the conveyor.

He passes through the X-Ray machine "undetected", but his peculiar physiology confuses the hell out of the equipment and causes it to go haywire, to the consternation of a lot of already disgruntled and impatient ticket holders who are now being diverted to another line while technicians try to figure out what's happening, and The Invisible Guy dashes off to his gate and the waiting plane.

On the plane The Invisible Guy is delighted to discover an inexplicably empty seat - in first class no less - probably thanks to the fiasco down at security. He settles in and stretches his legs, preparing for a relaxing flight and perhaps a bit of shuteye. Things are just fine through takeoff and their initial ascent, but when they reach cruising altitude they encounter a bit of turbulence, and suddenly The Invisible Guy feels his stomach take a sharp turn to the left.

"Must have gotten a bad mussel" he speculates as he reaches for the flight sickness bag, but one is not to be found. He lets go and spews forth all over the seat next to his, whose occupant has gotten up to use the loo. Anticipating the inevitable scenario, The Invisible Guy gets into the aisle and out of the way.

"Well, I'll be damned if it isn't Mr. Bunghole!" Ironically, Mr. B. has occupied the seat next to The Invisible Guy, who hadn't noticed because he has always made a point of completely ignoring the passengers sitting next to him, so as to discourage the likelihood of being engaged in conversation and finding out anything about them, which information he has decided in advance he couldn't possibly want to know. The Invisible Guy isn't feeling exactly "chipper", but he nearly pees himself and barely contains his laughter as he watches Mr. Bunghole retake his seat, immersing his unsuspecting bum in a warm pool of invisible vomit.

"Awww Jeeezuss! What the??!!" is only the preamble to a violent torrent of curses and invectives in a variety of known human languages, and others spontaneously invented for this singular occasion. And, as Mr. Bunghole boarded with only his briefcase, he has no change of clothes and so has no choice but to gird himself with an airline blanket and take the only remaining seat, leaving The Invisible Guy to stand by the bathroom for the duration of the flight.

Claude, quietly smirking, takes another swig of Duval from a bottle he has brought with him from the restaurant and taken the liberty of carrying on board, then nearly laughs out loud at  a choice passage from Rabelais.


"Afterwards I wiped my tail with a hen, with a cock, with a pullet, with a calf's skin, with a hare, with a pigeon, with a cormorant, with an attorney's bag, with a montero, with a coif, with a falconer's lure. But, to conclude, I say and maintain, that of all torcheculs, arsewisps, bumfodders, tail-napkins, bunghole cleansers, and wipe-breeches, there is none in the world comparable to the neck of a goose, that is well downed, if you hold her head betwixt your legs. And believe me therein upon mine honour, for you will thereby feel in your nockhole a most wonderful pleasure, both in regard of the softness of the said down and of the temporate heat of the goose, which is easily communicated to the bum-gut and the rest the inwards, in so far as to come even to the regions of the heart and brains." (from Gargantua, 1534)

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